By Conor Laird Published: September 17, 2021 4:50 pm
Last Updated: September 17, 2021 4:53 pm
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has, on Wednesday, provided an explanation for his decision to bench Virgil van Dijk versus AC Milan earlier this week.
Henderson makes the difference The Reds of course got their latest European campaign underway on Wednesday night.
In a highly-anticipated showdown between two of the continent’s most historic clubs, Klopp and co. welcomed Milan to Anfield, for a Champions League Group B clash.
And, when all was said and done, the 90 minutes did not disappoint, en route to a 5-goal thriller.
It was Liverpool who ultimately emerged victorious, after recovering from a lightning Rossoneri double on the stroke of the interval.
After Mohamed Salah levelled things up just minutes into the 2nd-half, captain Jordan Henderson ensured that the 2019 champions got their quest to return to the top of the European game off to the best possible start, courtesy of a fine drive from the edge of the area:
WHAT. A. HIT! 🚀
Jordan Henderson launches a half volley into the corner of the net! No one is stopping a strike like that! 💥
Liverpool have their lead back 💪 pic.twitter.com/YsxcxHe72o
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 15, 2021
‘Could have played’ On an otherwise positive evening for Liverpool on Wednesday, though, the one obvious concern came on the defensive side of things.
Whilst the Merseysiders carved out a whole host of presentable opportunities over the course of the 90 minutes, Milan’s quickfire pair of goals laid bare the lack of stability at the heart of the hosts’ backline.
This came with Jurgen Klopp having opted to shake things up, making use of the Joel Matip-Joe Gomez pairing for the first time this season.
Star stopper Virgil van Dijk, on the other hand, was confined to the bench throughout, a decision which the Liverpool boss was drawn on for the first time this afternoon.
And Klopp went on to highlight the recent centre-half injury woes at Anfield as key, assuring that van Dijk was in fact fit and available to feature, if needed:
📺 Jurgen Klopp on Virgil van Dijk:
“He could have played [vs Milan] but I wanted to be sensible. Ibou, Joe, Joel all have had injuries. Now we just make sure we have a proper pair on the pitch.” 🔴 pic.twitter.com/lYxdY6jnmj
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) September 17, 2021
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# Team MP D P 1 Manchester United 4 8 10 2 Chelsea FC 4 8 10 3 Liverpool FC 4 8 10 4 Everton FC 4 6 10 5 Manchester City 4 10 9 6 Brighton & Hove Albion 4 2 9 7 Tottenham Hotspur 4 0 9 8 West Ham United 4 5 8 9 Leicester City 4 -2 6 10 Brentford FC 4 1 5 11 Crystal Palace 4 0 5 12 Aston Villa 4 -2 4 13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 -1 3 14 Southampton FC 4 -2 3 15 Watford FC 4 -4 3 16 Arsenal FC 4 -8 3 17 Leeds United 4 -7 2 18 Burnley FC 4 -5 1 19 Newcastle United 4 -7 1 20 Norwich City 4 -10 0 Player Team Goals Antonio, Michail West Ham United 4 Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4 Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 3 Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3 Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3 Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3 Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 3 Benrahma, Said West Ham United 2 Ings, Danny Aston Villa 2 Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 2 Fornals, Pablo West Ham United 2 Torres, Ferran Manchester City 2 Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 2 Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 2 Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 2 Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 2 Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 2 Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 2 Edouard, Odsonne Crystal Palace 2